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Store to split former Blockbuster store into two units
PLANS have been submitted to bring new life to the former Blockbuster store at the Orbital Shopping Centre.
An application being put forward to the council would see the single unit split into two and replaced with a betting and coffee shop.
It is proposed that Ladbrokes would go into one of the shops, while Costa Coffee would fill the other space, and also have 10 tables outside the premises.
The news comes as another new shop – Outfit – opened its doors to shoppers in the retail park.
The shop stocks all the big fashion players, including Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Topman, Topshop and Wallis.
If planning permission is granted for Ladbrokes and Costa, all units at the Orbital will be full.
Coun Toby Elliot (Con, Priory Vale) said: “I know some people may not be happy with a bookies and a coffee shop going into the Orbital but for me I am glad the space will be filled.
It is good all the units are now full, and these are signs the economy is starting to improve.”
Coun Elliot met with senior management of the Orbital earlier this year, along with North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson and other councillors to discuss the future of the centre.
“Councillors in St Andrews asked people what they would like to see at the Orbital and we took the results to the managers,” he said.
“They have said there are exciting things planned in the future to give people what they want.”
The unit, currently known as B5, was formerly occupied by the film rental company until it went out of business.
Blockbuster went into administration in January and the shop at the Orbital closed on March 14. The space has since been empty.
Blue Sky Planning is acting for the owners of the Orbital, also known as the North Swindon District Centre, and has submitted three separate applications to the council.
If successful, the work will be carried out in separate phases, with the Orbital owners carrying out the initial work of changing the layout of the stores, and the tenants then adding their fittings.
News of the application comes after a report this week that many empty shops around the country were being filled by betting shops and cafes.
The Local Data Company, which gathers statistics, said while the vacancy rate for the country remained at 14 per cent, many famous high street retailers were being replaced.
LDC director Matthew Hopkinson said: “Restaurants, bars, cafes and even betting shops have come to the rescue as the growth of leisure takes off in our town centres.”
The application is being considered by the council.
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